Motorcycle racing can be as exhilarating to the spectator as any sport on earth. The speed, the exhaust noise, the fancy drifting of the riders through the turns on dirt tracks, their delicate adjustment to the pull of centrifugal force on paved courses—all help raise the viewer's heartbeat. As shown in these photographs of the annual competition at Laconia, N.H., a course may be billiard-table-smooth or muddy and deep-rutted. Like the postman, the cyclist makes his rounds regardless of weather and terrain.

Next week the two-wheelers return to Laconia for the 40th annual New England Gypsy Tour. In six days of vigorous action there will be track, road and drag races, a hill climb and the Scrambles dash over hill and dale in open country. Biggest event is the 150-mile road race on June 19. which counts toward a national championship.

As usual, the competitors will be admonished to be on their best behavior ("Open-muffler boobs and cowboy riders are not welcome," warns a rather nervous line in last year's program). All responsible organizers in the sport, including those at Laconia, are keenly aware that the man on the street imagines a typical cyclist to be a black-jacketed delinquent with a bottle in his hip pocket and a dame in tight slacks on the seat behind him.

The American Motorcycle Association, chief sanctioning body for the sport, insists that seedy specimens are a tiny minority among the 500,000 Americans who own motorcycles. Moreover, the sport is booming. The 70,000-member AMA sanctioned 3,000 events last year, hopes to raise that figure in 1960. Laconia expects 25,000 visitors for next week's races, which should be fast, furious and boob-free.

PHOTOJAY MAISELShining wheels spin urgently as two racers lean into a left turn at Laconia. Such jockeying for position at close quarters gives motorcycle racing much of its heart-pull. PHOTOJAY MAISELMuddy cyclists charge uphill at Laconia, N. H. In event known as the Scrambles! over course that rain has turned I Into rutted morass, challenging racers to stay upright.